MANILA - Cadet 1st Class Aldrin Cudia's mother, Filipina, urged the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday to order the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to release her son's diploma and restore him in the list of the premier military school's graduates.
Accompanied by Cadet Cudia and the rest of the family, Mrs. Cudia filed a petition-in-intervention before the high court to intervene in the case of her son, and attached as additional evidence in the case the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on its fact-finding investigation into Cadet Cudia's case.
The CHR recommended the following:
- to allow Cudia to graduate;
- for the PMA Honor Committee to uphold the original 8-1 voting on Cudia's case;
- for the PMA to declare Cudia "not guilty" of violation of its Honor Code; and
- for the PMA to restore Cudia's benefits as a PMA cadet.
Also attached in Mrs Cudia's petition-in-intervention is the sworn statement executed by the Head of the Department Naval Warfare of the PMA, Cmdr. Junjie Tabuada, which attested to the fact that Cudia's co-cadet, Cadet 1st Class Dalton Lagura, admitted to him that he (Lagura) changed his "not guilty" vote on Cudia after having been "pressured" by the rest of the Honor Committee members.
"Ang pagpapalit ng boto ay bawal sa Honor Code, at ang Honor Code dapat ipatupad ng may hustisya... Nagtagumpay sila (Honor Committee) pero walang due process."
"The Honor Code should be implemented, applied and upheld with justice, human rights, and dignity. Not mere honor, but justice," Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta said.
The PAO is representing the Cudias in the case before the high court.
Cadet Cudia was dishonorably dismissed from the PMA for "lying" about his tardiness in one of his classes.
"RUN FOR JUSTICE"
Earlier in the morning, "running priest" Fr. Robert Reyes and Cadet Cudia's relatives, donning "Justice for Cadet Cudia" shirts, ran in Manila to demand justice for the embattled cadet.
Reyes said Cadet Cudia is playing an "important role" and should continue his fight because he is representing "other victims of the educational system."
"He is playing an important role kasi maraming ganitong abuse ng educational system. At maraming nagsasabi na ayaw na namin mag-enrol sa PMA," Reyes said.
Reyes also called on President Aquino to grant Cadet Cudia's pleas.
Mr Aquino had earlier said he is leaving it up to the Armed Forces leadership to decide on Cudia's appeal.
"Can Malacanan always be correct? Malacanan can commit mistakes. Si PNoy natakot sa mga heneral. Ang dapat maging boss ni PNoy ay ang katotohanan."
Mrs. Cudia said her son wants to move on from this sad chapter in his life, and now intends to pursue law.
Asked if his desire to study law has anything to do with his current battle, Mrs Cudia said, "Siguro po. Gusto po niya kasi talaga mag-aral."
The Cudias are asking the PMA to award Cadet Cudia his diploma so that he can explore other options.
Cadet Cudia was quiet the entire time he was at the SC.
Acosta said he is barred from showing any disrespect to the PMA and the AFP because his status is still a cadet on-leave. Acosta said Cadet Cudia may be charged with insubordination or subjected to Court Martial proceedings if he violated the academy's policies.